I have an unusual moment alone thanks to our new neighbors. They have a cool playground in their backyard and a bouncy house in their basement - so clearly it is a fun place to be! We only moved to this house Friday. I am writing this on Wednesday. This is the third times my kids have been over there in four days - hopefully this is a good thing (for the neighbors) and not a "holy cow, who just moved in next to us?!" thing!
Anyway, we are just getting to know each other and the mother was asking me some questions about homeschooling. She thought it must be hard because I don't really get breaks. And I agreed with her, since Marisol was born almost 8 years ago I don't really get a lot of "breaks". I explained that I've learned how to get my needs met with my kids - together. But I wasn't completely satisfied with my answer - so I thought I'd use this unexpected alone time (thanks to my awesome new neighbors!) to write a bit about that.
This is another example of how a paradigm shift can make the difference between a miserable and a happy existence. It's true - I don't get a ton of breaks in the way that most people think of breaks - you know, time away from my kids doing things that *I* like to do by myself. But in some ways I feel like I actually get way more breaks than most people. Because our lives are very flexible we are free to do what we want. Which means I can rest on the couch with my kiddos every day if I want (usually they are watching a movie or show, sometimes I listen to a meditation on my iPhone). Also we get to take way more vacations than many families. (Incidentally, our new address is VACATION LANE - ha! How appropriate is that for our family??) I usually see my parents for an extended visit several times per year - and during those visits I am able to get more "breaks" than usual. Even if one child really needs me, often the other one is being entertained by Grandma or Grandpa or Aunty LD.
And when we aren't on a true "vacation" we are still very free. To be busy or stay home, to go to a museum or the library, to take a bath (or 3!) in the middle of the day, to watch our favorite shows all day long, to go to a friend's house or have them come here. Yes, some days are really hard - usually when I am tired. But I think that is true for just about all parents - I mean people!
So yes, I am with my kids a lot more than many people are accustomed to. But the longer we do this, and the older the kids get, the better we get at meeting all of our needs without being apart (and yes, a big part of reason it gets easier is because they are older). Every day they get to see that I have needs too - that I get tired, hungry, grumpy, etc. We get to talk about these things and try to make things work for us. It's not perfect for everyone all the time, but overall we are able to make it work. Now we have a puppy factored into the equation.The really cool thing is that meeting her needs - especially to get outside and exercise - is turning out to be really good for all of us!
Imagine that: meeting someone else's need actually can fill your own! <-- BOOM! There it is, the whole point to this post. It only took 5 paragraphs of Random Ramblyness to get to it.
Here are some more links to explore:
From my page, why I'm not a fan of the term "me-time": Me Time? No Thanks.
From another blog, this piece explains the true "burden" of homeschooling, and it's not what you might think!: The Great and Terrible Burden of Homeschooling
And a third from Sandra Dodd's page, because no post of mine would be complete without it: Precisely How To Unschool (this piece addresses in general terms "how much time" to spend with your child).
ps I didn't forget the Mother's day part of this post. Here ya go, ala Crappy Parenting (my daughter loves this page - ha!)
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.